Jay March2011

Jay Frucci, President and Owner,
Furniture Consignment Gallery

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Are You Going Contemporary Too?

 

 

"I'm going contemporary!" She was seventy, if she was a day, a prim white-haired Yankee by birth and breeding. She thrust a photo at me and added, "I just ordered this camelback sofa and I need some funky end tables to go with it."

 

"Contemporary" is the hot new word in decorating. Queen Anne is out. So is chintz. Ruffles are a crime. Pyramids of pillows are passé. Most of our customers, young and old, are seeking a look that is sleek, sharply-defined and serene.

 

What they are calling contemporary is really classic design. Barbara Barry started the trend a decade ago when she created an amazing sofa with a sharply contoured arm, borrowing from a style that had been very traditional in England. Mitchell Gold took the same look and outlined the sofa in nailhead trim. That's been a huge hit for his stores. 

 

From Baker to Crate and Barrel, you can now buy a variation on that theme in almost every furniture store in the U.S. They're calling it transitional. Maybe people are tired of the word - even the concept - of traditional. You, our customers, are calling it contemporary. It looks and feels new and fresh.

 

41 4abTyHILTrue contemporary is Lucite. Contemporary is metal, plastic and modular sofas. Visit Roche Bobois, where the showroom is filled with strangely curved pieces of furniture sitting low on the floor like giant slugs. Works in Europe. A tough sell in New England. That's contemporary.

 

At Furniture Consignment Gallery, we might dabble with the ultra-modern every now and then. We have no law against Lucite. What we do best, though, is high-end, traditional re-interpretations of the finest furniture ever made. Call it what you may - traditional, transitional, contemporary, modern - we know what you mean.

 

So when Yankee matron with the twin-set cardigan and the sensible shoes tells me she is looking for a more modern look for her retirement penthouse in downtown Boston, we have exactly what she wants on our floor.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Quirks of the Nouveau Riche

 

 

We pulled up in front of a massive mansion earlier this week to pick up some furniture. The owner, a wealthy businessman, was gutting the house down to the studs, then renovating and redecorating. He wanted us to sell his furniture - but he wasn't going to make it easy for us.   parkinglotside

 

Rule #1: Do NOT park in the driveway. He didn't want tire marks or oil leaks from our truck staining his beautiful, black ribbon of asphalt. He was very fussy about his driveway. In fact, he boasted, he forced workers to use plastic shovels to clean the snow from the driveway by hand in the winter so the surface wouldn't be scratched by a plow.

 

Tiptoeing across his lawn was tough - but well worth it. We loaded up several truckloads of high quality furniture, which you'll find in our showrooms this weekend along with furniture from several other high-end homes in Boston.

 

And, yes, it is true. The very rich are different from you and me. Plastic shovels? Well, if you insist. Which is why they choose to partner with us more than any other consignment business in New England.

 

Why Furniture Consignment Gallery?

I can think of three reasons. One, they trust us to come into their homes and to handle their possessions with care and integrity. Two, we have the skilled people and the right equipment to carefully extract items from their homes without damaging the hand-painted wallpaper or the marble floors. And, three, they know that their furniture will be beautifully displayed in our three showrooms - and that it will sell.

 

Mr. Big Shot insisted that he didn't need the money, but he knows his furniture - gently used - still has value. "I want to see some money from this stuff," he said gruffly. "I know I'm going to get the best price by consigning with you. Then I'll donate the money to charity."

 

So it isn't about the money ... but it is about the money.

Working with the super-successful can be challenging, but we do it well. Our business is built to handle it. When you visit the showroom this weekend, feel free to chuckle a bit, knowing we had to skip lightly across some guy's lawn to bring you the best furniture in New England.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Survey of Surveys

 

 

"Are you saying, sir, the name of your company is Furniture Consignment Gallery?" the customer service rep asked for the third time. "How do you spell 'furniture'?"

"How do you spell 'furniture'?" I snapped in irritation. "Well, it begins with an "f" - as in frustrated!" 4589118642

Few things try my patience more than calling a customer service hotline. Yesterday, I spent twenty minutes on the phone trying to cancel a newspaper subscription. The hapless rep couldn't spell "Furniture." "Consignment"? Too much of a challenge.

She put me on hold to find "someone who could better assist me. " In her call center, that might take an eternity. Even more aggravating was the email from her company that popped into my mailbox a few hours later: "How was your customer experience? Please take our brief survey!"

These days, it seems like everyone in business is conducting a survey about the "customer experience." I got the oil changed in my car, and two hours later got an email asking me to take a survey. I got my teeth cleaned. My dentist asked me to fill out a survey.

My answer to all of them is "no."

My needs are pretty simple. I want to cancel my subscription quickly and efficiently. I want my oil changed by a trustworthy mechanic. I want the dentist to clean my teeth with no additional fuss. And then I want to be left alone.

So, companies, big and small, here's my advice. Forget the surveys. Provide your customers with good service from the moment they walk in the door or call on the phone. You don't need a survey to tell you when you're doing a good job. Your customers leave happy. They come back again. They also send friends and family your way.

That is what we strive to do every day at Furniture Consignment Gallery. You get a real staffer on the phone when you call FCG. We'll answer your questions honestly. We deliver your furniture on time. And you'll never get an email from us asking you to rate you to rate the displays in our showrooms. The "F" in FCG stands for quality furniture - not frustration.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Life's Bag of Cookies

 

 

Wafting out the window was an irresistible smell: cookies. Italian cookies, loaded with butter and spice, to be more specific. Inside, a white-haired older woman was busy trying out the oven in her new condo. She smiled and beckoned us into the kitchen. Trays of cookies were cooling on the countertop.

"Oh, boy!" I thought. "Smells just like my grandmother's house ..."

We were there to deliver some furniture she'd bought for her condo in a new retirement community. Up and down the stairs we jogged for almost an hour carrying dressers, bedside tables, chairs - and drooling over the still-warm cookies. When we were finished, she thanked us cheerily and shooed us out the door - without dishing out so much as a single cookie.

"cookies clip art cookies clipart 1Humph," I found myself stewing darkly in the truck all the way back to the store. "No cookies? No cookies! My grandmother wouldn't let you leave her house without eating two big meals and carrying home a week's worth of food. That woman might have had the recipes, but I bet she wasn't even Italian."

Yes, life is much easier if you can manage to roll along without expectations. On the other hand, life also serves up some unanticipated pleasures when they are least expected.

Monday was a quiet day in the showroom. Most moms were shopping the back-to-school specials, not looking for furniture. I was busy doing paperwork. A long-time customer popped in on her way to visit a friend down the street. She had just baked several dozen cookies, forgetting that her friend was gone on vacation for the week.

"Please take them," she pleaded pushing a fragrant tray of just-baked cookies across the counter at me." I just made them - and I can't eat them all."

They were frosted - and Italian - the best I've had since I lost my grandmother a decade ago. Thanks to that oven-mitt-wearing angel, I was reminded once again that life is unpredictable - and that you've got to embrace the disappointments along with the joys.

 

That's sort of what it is like to visit our furniture showrooms. You may not always find everything that's on your list. But sometimes, when you least expect it, you'll find a treasure you couldn't have imagined.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

FCG Cruises into Mrs. Insecurity's Neighborhood

 

 

GossipLike any red-blooded retailer, I loved the state tax-free holiday last weekend. Our cash register was smoking after hours of ringing up one sale after another. The showrooms were jammed with shoppers eager to take advantage of the savings. Some were familiar faces. Others were new to Furniture Consignment Gallery.

 

One newcomer was absolutely giddy at some of the exquisite pieces she found in our showroom. She'd discovered two objects of lust - a Sheraton style sideboard and an inlaid china cabinet - and the longer she lingered in the showroom the more she found that would be perfect for her home.

 "Do you deliver?" she asked. "Of course," I told her.

Suddenly, a look of consternation crossed her face. "Does your truck say Furniture Consignment Gallery?" she asked anxiously.

Turns out she lives in an upscale waterfront neighborhood on the South Shore. She didn't want her neighbors to know that she was shopping for bargains at a consignment store. She was afraid that our truck might signal she was suffering financial distress in a town that prized financial success. What if the neighbors snickered at her behind her back?

Little did she know that our delivery trucks cruise her neighborhood regularly picking up and dropping off furniture. In fact, we know every lawn ornament on the town's impeccably manicured lawns. Here's a secret: her neighbors may be moneyed, but they're also blue-blood Yankees. They appreciate quality, but they also insist on a good deal. And they know they can't satisfy both of those demands in traditional furniture stores anymore.

Mrs. Insecurity is in for a treat when we deliver her furniture this week. She has no idea how impressed her neighbors will be at the treasures she found at FCG - and her financial savvy in snagging a bargain price on that china cabinet with the inlaid satin wood. So, yes, our trucks will be rolling proudly into the finest of neighborhoods this week - and every week.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Furniture Consignment Gallery Tax Free Sale

 

 

taxfreeSo What is all the Hoopla about?
After all the tax savings is only 6.25%. Other than unleashing the libertarian within, the savings isn't great enough to cause a fuss. But, at Furniture Consignment Gallery we think it is a big deal. So we are making it one! This week only, you can take an extra 10% off the current price which brings your savings up to 16.25%. Now that is some hoopla!

Here are the details: 


TAX-FREE  Sale Event. Take 10% OFF the current price! Starts today on August 11th at 10AM. You can take 10% of the current price and take the item with you today! If you want to wait to purchase the item on the Sales Tax Holidays of Saturday and Sunday August 16 & 17, we can reserve your item, process your order over the weekend and then you will save the extra 6.25%.


 

Items reserved for purchase for the tax holiday can be picked up over the weekend, but not before. Delivery trucks will be operating all next week and we can schedule your delivery at the time that you reserve your item.


 

All Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Rules and Regulations apply. Under Massachusetts State Guidelines, items that exceed $2,500 are not eligible for the sales tax holiday exemption.

 

Our trucks will be running all this week, picking up items and bringing them in for the sale event. Great items are schedule to hit the showroom floors throughout the week and we will update you along the way.

 

Take 10% off today! The Sale begins Now on Monday August 11 and runs Through Sunday August 17th.*

*Items that drop in price during the sale event and all items that are in final markdown status may not be eligible for any further discounting.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

A Trusted Partner

 

 

"No, no, no!" Ronphone, the veteran manager of our store in Hanover, exclaimed excitedly. He was on the phone talking to a woman who was moving and thinking about selling a beloved dining set. "Don't sell it," he advised her. "You've got to keep it!"

 

If you overheard that conversation - and you don't know FCG - you might have been puzzled. After all, we're in the business of consigning quality furniture - and hers definitely qualified. Her dining room set was from Stickley's Mission Collection. Made with quarter sawn white oak, the set was beautiful and would someday be an heirloom. It would have sold instantly in any of our stores.

 

Was Ron crazy?

 

Actually, no. The woman had told him she wasn't sure about her plans. She didn't know where she was moving or whether the dining set would fit - in size or style - in her new home. Ron knew intuitively that she might regret selling a treasured piece before she'd had time to think through the decision. Sure, FCG would have made money consigning the set, but he was right to advise against the sale.

 

At FCG, we pride ourselves on our honesty. If you see an item on our website and call us to ask about the condition of the piece, you are going to get an honest appraisal from us. That means we're going to tell you about the dings and dents. If you call us about consigning a piece that you might regret selling later, we'll caution you to think twice.

 

"Put it in storage for the short-term," Ron told the woman. "Once you've decided where you're living, then you can evaluate whether the dining set is a good fit for your new home. And if you do decide to sell, then you know who to call - FCG!"

 

Establishing a bond of trust with customers and potential customers is important to us - even if it means we forego a short-term profit. Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Long Distance Relationship

 

 

travelingfurnitureYesterday, a truck filled with furniture left our loading dock and set off on a journey that will take it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. First stop: New Jersey, where a homeowner is waiting eagerly for a set of chairs. Next: North Carolina, where an aspiring writer is getting a desk for her home office. Final destination is Louisiana, where a woman is finishing off a decorating project with an Ethan Allen cabinet she found - by searching online - at Furniture Consignment Gallery.

The Internet has made us all next-door neighbors. Buying consignment furniture online is commonplace now and, at FCG, we are seeing more and more of it. So for those readers who don't live in our home state of Massachusetts, here's a primer on how to get those great bargains you see on our website.

 

First, remember our furniture sells quickly. If you see an item you love, call immediately. We'll give you an honest appraisal of its condition. We'll also let you know if the piece is worth shipping. A Pottery Barn twin bed is about $400 new. We've got one for $250. But if you live in Arkansas, that wouldn't make sense because of shipping costs.

 

On the other hand, we have a set of Kindle chairs that sells new for about $10,000. Our price: $3,000. Now, that's a good buy. In other words, buying and shipping is a smart option when you are investing in high-end furniture.

 

For far-flung buyers, FCG can recommend a reputable and reasonably priced shipper. We've had years of experience with this shipper. We feel confident in our recommendation. You may find others who will ship for less, but we don't take responsibility for delays or damage en route.

 

Buying is easy. All it takes is a phone call. We accept all major credit cards, and we'll hold your furniture until the shipping company picks it up. You pay the shipper directly when the piece arrives at your home or office.

 

So whether you are in Wichita or Washington, D.C., you, too, can shop at Furniture Consignment Gallery. Bookmark our website and check it regularly - it's like a treasure hunt with new pieces every day. Why leave all these bargains to the savviest shoppers in Massachusetts?

 

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

The Secret to Fine Furniture Accumulation

 

 

img 3283She came into the showroom to buy a bed. Her husband is a big dude - 6'4", 260 pounds - and the bed they'd bought just a few years ago from a discount store had broken. Cheaply made, she'd been told, it wasn't worth repairing.

 

Fortunately, we have 21 beds at our store in Plymouth, and I knew she'd be pleased with the variety and the price. Still, it was a hassle for her - and an unforeseen expense. Like a burst pipe or a dead car battery, a bed is a necessity.

 

Looking around the showroom, she seemed stunned at the array of styles, the quality and the excellent condition of the beds - not to mention the prices. "You guys have awesome stuff," she said, taking a moment to appreciate it all.

 

Unfortunately, tales like hers are increasingly common these days. For the past decade or so, the home furnishings market has been flooded with cheap furniture. Shoddily made, many of these pieces are made from lightweight particle board then glued or stapled together. That's why so many of Particleboardthose so-called bargain pieces sag, crack, or fall apart after only a short time.

 

"We thought we were getting a deal," our customer said sadly of the bed she and her husband had bought as newlyweds. "Turns out, it was no deal."

 

We don't do cheap. Our showrooms are filled with stylish and pieces from some of the nation's top furniture manufacturers like Ethan Allen, Stickley, Stanley, Hooker, Hitchcock and Thomasville. These beds, tables and couches are made with care and precision using old-fashioned, long-lasting manufacturing techniques. Dowels are important. So are dovetails. Thanks to our knowledgeable staff, our customer got an education - and a bed she loved - that morning.

 

Later that afternoon, a thirtysomething couple strolled into the showroom holding hands and eagerly looking over the inventory. They unveiled the secret to fine furniture accumulationgus 9. "We buy one piece of Stickley furniture every year for our anniversary," the wife explained. Married ten years, they have a home that has been thoughtfully decorated over time with meaningful pieces that will last a lifetime.

 

That seems like a lovely tradition to me. Skip the bargain basement where couches are featherweight - because their cushions are made of inexpensive foam. Stop by one - or all - of our three stores. You'll never regret buying quality.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!

Comedy, Tragedy, We've Got it In Spades in July

 

 

shatteredsmallI was ready for a break. So I welcomed the brief lull in the store when the phones went silent and the parking lot emptied earlier this week. It didn't last long. Suddenly, I heard a massive crash. A large mirror had jumped off the wall to its death. Shards of glass were everywhere.

The dog days of summer are upon us. Even the furniture is getting agitated.

July is a weird month. That's when the showroom seems to turn into a confessional. Is it the heat or the humidity? I don't know, but for some reason, that's when wayfarers wander into our stores and pour out their hearts.

Yesterday, a pickup truck pulled into the parking lot. Four rambunctious boys spilled out of the cab and tore through the showroom like monkeys swinging on jungle vines. The oldest was about fourteen, the youngest was a toddler. Their father followed, looking sweaty and irritable.

"Cute kids?" I offered hesitantly.

LTKzKeGTa"They're driving me nuts!" Dad replied. "You know, I thought we were done after two kids. I even went to the doc" - he winced - "so there wouldn't be any, you know, surprises. Then, after ten years, my wife decides she wants more. So back I go. You know, to the doc."

He closed his eyes and shook his head wearily. "Twelve grand it cost me to fix the plumbing! And that's just for starters! I'm on the hook, man. I'm on the hook for a long time. I'm looking at, like, sixteen years of college tuition."  

What do you say at a moment like that? I had no idea. When in doubt, my motto is to talk furniture. "That's a mighty nice desk you've got out there in the truck, buddy," I blurted out. "Mighty nice! I think we can sell that desk and put some money back in your wallet."

Readers, if you're in the market for some entertainment, you gotta come visit one of our showrooms. Comedy, tragedy, we've got it it in spades in July. And if you're in the market for a desk, you'll make one poor guy a little happier.

Jay Frucci is President and Owner of Furniture Consignment Gallery and http://www.furnitureconsignment.com/. Read, Respond and Stay Tuned!
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